March 26, 2021 10:37 am at 10:37 am #1960795
Meaningful Hesber on an alternative reason for the 4 Cups
The Cup of Redemption:
וכוס פרעה בידי… ואשחט אותם אל כוס פרעה ואתן את הכוס על כף פרעה… ונתת כוס פרעה בידו
The cup of Pharaoh is in my hand… I squeezed them into the cup of Pharaoh, and I gave the cup on the hand of Pharaoh… and you shall give the cup in Pharaoh’s hand (Bereishis 40:11-13).
When the cupbearer of Pharaoh told his dream to Yosef and when Yosef interpreted it, the word cup appears in the verses four times. We are told (Shemos Rabbah 6:4, Yerushalmi Pesachim 10:1) that the four cups at our Pesach Seder correspond to the arba leshonos shel geulah, the four terms of redemption, which are mentioned in the Torah (Shemos 6:6-7). They are: “Ve’hotzeisi – I will take you out” of Egypt; “ve’hitzalti – I will rescue you” from servitude; “ve’ga’alti – I will redeem you;” and “ve’lakachti – I will take you” as My people.
The Yerushalmi (ibid.) says that another reason for the four cups is the four times that the cup of Pharaoh is mentioned in the above verses. What message were Chazal trying to convey in this association? What lesson can we learn from the cup-bearer’s dream and those four cups of Pharaoh, when we drink our four cups of wine at the Pesach Seder?
Rav Eliyahu Klatzkin, in Chibas HaKodesh (Cheilek HaDerush #1), offers a beautiful explanation of this Yerushalmi, which takes into account the actual context of the four cups of Pharaoh – namely, the dreams and ambitions of an imprisoned man, the sar hamashkim.
What was it that led Yosef to give a favorable interpretation to the cup-bearer, and a moment later to give a dismal interpretation to the baker? This question takes on great significance in light of the Gemara (Berachos 55b), which states that a dream follows its interpretation, and is often a reflection of what the dreamer thought about during the day. Although the Gemara says that the interpretation must be similar to the dream, why was Yosef unable to find something within the dream of the sar ha’ofim that could be interpreted favorably, as he did for the cup-bearer?
As we read the cup-bearer’s rendition of his dream, we note the repeated emphasis of the cup of Pharaoh, which indicates a person longing and even obsessed to return to his former post. The cup-bearer had obviously taken pride in serving Pharaoh before, and hoped to be given the chance to return to his job. Thus, when Yosef listened to the dream, he gave a positive interpretation. Since the cup-bearer was a person who only wanted to serve his master, any offense he may have committed (in which a fly was found in the cup of Pharaoh) was no doubt inadvertent, and he deserved another chance.
In the dream of the baker, however, there is no indication that he longed to return to serve Pharaoh. He never mentioned or described himself as baking for or serving his master, only that there was a basket of Pharaoh’s bread above his head. In fact, he should have carried the bread in his hand, where it would have been safer from birds. Signs of loyalty or devotion to his master were starkly absent from the dream. It seems he never cared about the royal personage he served; he only wanted the job so that he could fill his stomach with royal fare. The offense, in which a stone was found in the bread of Pharaoh, was a true offense to Pharaoh. According to the letter of the law, he deserved to be punished for his wrongdoing. Yosef could not find any redeeming factor in the dream to enable him to interpret it favorably. Therefore, Yosef delivered the interpretation that the baker would be killed and would never return to his position.
This, writes Rav Klatzkin, is why Chazal mandated four cups at the Seder, corresponding to the four cups of Pharaoh. When we drink our wine and reflect on our liberation from Egypt, we should have in mind something akin to the longings and ambitions of the cup-bearer. He only wanted to be freed in order to return to serve his master and to continue to show his devotion to the king. In the same vein, when thanking Hashem for deliverance from Egypt, we should also recall the true purpose of freedom.
Whatever pit we find ourselves in, our longing and prayer for redemption should be only to serve Hashem. Our ambition must be to keep His Torah and mitzvos and bask in His radiance, not the personal pleasure or physical perks that come with geulah and freedom.
And just as the longing to serve was the catalyst for the cup-bearer’s freedom, so, too, our desire and longing to serve Hashem will be the merit that frees us from our pits, and allows us to go from darkness into light.March 26, 2021 3:06 pm at 3:06 pm #1960829
There is an argument whether everyone should have a cup or just the seder leader as usually by kiddush. I think, it will depend on the reason for it. If the reason is because of sar hamashkin as explained above, then its only a symbolism, so it does not have to be felt and to have an enjoyment from it. However, when the reason as the Bavli is, arguing on the Yerushalmi, for the four expressions of redemptions then we were all involved and personal enjoyment is necessary. The GRA explains that the cup of Eliyahu is the fifth cup for the safek of vahevesi, I will bring you, which was temporary and Eliyahu will resolve. Tishbu it does not say Eliyahu. Maybe, the Chasam Sofer asks how can we rely on Eliyahu when the Torah does not reside in heaven? He answers that when Eliyahu appears as a human being, he is as good as everyone else. This being is implied by the person coming from his residence will answer all of our questions.March 26, 2021 6:57 pm at 6:57 pm #1960862
Dear Rav AB. very nice drush from Rav Klatzkin. Is he the author of the famous teshuva on defining mummification? I remember a teshuva from him years ago on that subject. Also another teshuva which I cant identify but deals with rubber? Please forgive me. Anyway it is pretty clear that the dichotomy in Pirkei Avot about being an eved seeking pras vs. one fearful of G-d is not represented here.Good Shabbos and thanksMarch 30, 2021 2:04 am at 2:04 am #1961120
Dear Reb BenEphraim,
Thank you for the kind words. Did a little Googling and have no idea. He was a Rav in Tel Aviv who was niftar 20-30 years ago. Seeing your ID Benephraim, I (am tempted to)(can`t not) send you to look at the Ibn Ezra in Vayeitzei (29:17) רכות – כמשמעו. ויש שואל: למה היו כן, בעבור שחשבו שמחשבות השם כמחשבותיהם, וכל הנבראים ראויות צורתם להיות שוה.
ובן אפרים אמר: שהוא חסר אל״ף, וטעמו: ארוכות, והוא היה חסר אילוף.
where he cites Ben Ephraim who reads the passuk discribing Leah`s eyes – Racos- as if it is missing an Alef. It is therefore saying that her eyes were Aruchos – long and shapely?
To show his displeasure with this added Alef he concludes that Ben Ephraim should be missing an Alef. IOW Ben Porim, a Son of a Cow…..
No offense intended, just one of the more famous Ibn Ezra`s.
If you liked that vort, I recommend you somehow contact me a bukspan or perhaps go to a website that is famous for having scores of parshasheets to download and find my posting from my sefer Classics and Beyond – a Feldheim book. I would be happy to email a copy to you as the verter are usually not bad. kol tuvMarch 30, 2021 8:59 am at 8:59 am #1961172
Thanks for unmasking me. I knew it would happen sooner or later. You can’t satisfy everybody. Are you related to the Machon Yerushalayim Bukspan or the Hungarian Rosh Yeshiva who was killed akh”s in 1944? Back to Rav Klatzkin. The one I refer to was the Mariampol Rav. I think his sefer was Even Harosha. I appreciate your classy lamdonus. Good MoedMarch 31, 2021 12:37 am at 12:37 am #1961405
You are correct, it is the same Rav Klatzkin https://hebrewbooks.org/10213
Had you known of that Ibn Ezra? There was a time when I only knew that one and one in Mishpatim (21:35) where he also makes fun of another ben – ben zuta, saying that his only friend is an ox.
Not related. I am Avraham Bukspan/Bukshpan with peh, he is Buksboim with beis.
if you can get me your email or address I would be happy to send you a copy of my safer. kol tuvMarch 31, 2021 3:04 pm at 3:04 pm #1961576
Esteemed Rav AB . You are right about the tree. I am indeed chaser aleph in that one. The Ibn Ezra is beloved by all segments of Klal Yisrael. Many perushim were done as well like the Margalios Tovah I think. His son in law may have been the Kuzari or vice versa.Remember Tosfos brings his kasha in Kidushin as well . I enjoy reading your writings and wish you a Good Moed. You learned in American Yeshivas? Formerly BE. Now I may have to get a new nom de plume.March 31, 2021 3:28 pm at 3:28 pm #1961592
The quote something from the Ibn Ezra on lo sachmod, owning something that does not belong to us should be as far reaching like a viliager does not desire a princess. With this I explained in Shir Hashirim on toumai tzeviah, where the ten commandments can be read accross. Rashi connects that one who desires something not his looks down at his father. What is the connection? Maybe, he does not respect the status of his father and therefore, will desire a princess.March 31, 2021 3:47 pm at 3:47 pm #1961597
The Ibn Ezra’s father in law was Rabbi Yehudah Halevi, the Kuzari.
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